Women and Bad Men

         Why is it that most women are attracted to bad men that abuse then degrade them and just treat them like dirt. In almost every book and play and film version we read and saw this semester, the women is always in love with a bad man. By looking at the book Wuthering Heights and the plays, A Doll's House and A Streetcar Named Desire, plus their film versions, one will see examples of what I am talking about.

         In Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontë in 1847 and filmed by William Wyler in 1939 and Luis Buñuel in 1954 as Los Abismos de Pasion, Catherine; Catalina is in love with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier); Alejandro (Jorge Mistral), who is a mean man. Heathcliff treats Catherine like dirt when he finds out that she hasd married another man, Edgar Linton (David Niven); Egardo (Ernesto Alenzo). Even when Catherine has a loving husband that cares for her, she still is in love with Heathcliff even on her deathbed. Most of his hatred comes from jealousy, and his revenge on Catherine hurts many people in the way. Not only does Catherine love Heathcliff, but also so does Isabella (Geraldine Fitzerald); Isabel (Lilia Prado), the sister of Catherine's husband. Heathcliff treats Isabella like trash by putting her in a junk room to sleep in Bunuel's film, and he does not care about her needs of being loved or cared for. But in return Isabella hates Catherine, who had warned her of the situation, instead of Heathcliff, who has treated her so badly.

         In Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland, Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) lives in a situation where she is verbally abused and taken for granted. Nora dances around the house for Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins, playing his pet; and in return he treats her like dirt. He expects her to perform for him and for his friends at events. He expects her to play with the children all day. At the end of the play Torvald throws a fit of rage when he finds out that Nora has taken out a loan many years ago in order to save his health. He does not care about the risk Nora took when taking out a loan, while forging her dead father's signature. He thinks only of himself and what people would think of him if they find out. Then he throws a fit, and Nora realizes that she does not want to live with Torvald anymore. She accepts the fact that realized she needs a life where she will not be treated as if she were a doll. She wants a life where she could live freely and have opinions and thoughts. But in reality Nora is weak and will probably return to Torvald before it is over.

         In Tennessee Williams' 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, Stella (Kim Hunter) is married to an abusive man. Stanley (Marlon Brando) is mean to Stella and shows absolutely no respect for her. He is always playing poker or going out with the boys and almost never shows any affection towards Stella. At one point Stanley hits Stella and throws her around while she is pregnant. But when he comes crying for her at the bottom of the neighbor's stairs, Stella comes slinking back to him.

         I do not know or understand why women feel they need to have a bad man in their lives, but there are many women that do. There are many examples of women to accept men who treat them badly, and we see these examples from books, plays, and movies. One day maybe women will learn and take a stand against men who abuse them or treat them will little or no respect.

Britney Darnell

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